Tuesday, January 16, 2018

De Ijaazat - Episodes 1-4 Thoughts


A Hum TV production, De Ijazat stars Mekaal Zulfiqar and Zarnish Khan.  Zarnish Khan is one of those actresses that I find highly underrated, as she generally associates herself with quality shows and has a lot of untapped talent.  The show appears to deal with family issues and differences of "background" standards.

I'll be 100% honest.  I didn't even know this drama existed, which is odd, because I am usually aware of the dramas the "A-listers" are shooting for.  I only found out about this show, because it popped up in my "Recommended videos" on YouTube after episode 1 aired and I saw Mekaal's face.  Of course, I immediately hit play.


Dua (Zarnish) is a working woman who financially supports her family, consisting of her parents, two sisters and brother.  The show begins with a rishta coming for Duaa, which her parents quickly accept much to the dismay of Duaa (who is not ready to get married, as she believes it's her responsibility to support her family).  Duaa gets engaged, but to make matters worse, when the marriage date comess close, her in-laws ask for a "Watta satta."  They want their daughter to marry Duaa's brother.  Duaa and her family become wary of this marriage, but do not want to break it off as it is only weeks away and do not want to risk Duaa's marriage breaking off.  On the other end, Duaa's brother is making his plans on how to escape to Canada to marry his girlfriend.


Duaa, who is a reporter, meets Mekaal's character (I can't remember his name right now) at his mother's launch party (She is a designer).  He is immediately attracted to her, while she resists his (polite) advances.  He tries to pursue her, but is halted when he discovers that she is engaged. 

On the other end, Dua's brother's plan on leaving the wedding is in full swing.  In the next episiode (episode 5), we will see the effects of his actions on the entire family. 


There is something very appealing about this show, which I can't place my finger on.  It has that "fresh" feel to it, much like "Kuch Na Kaho" last year.  I can already tell where this story is headed and I am interested in how they present this story - a story where a middle class girl marries into a high class household and is still torn between her worlds, as she is still supporting her family.  The concept is a good one, depending on how it is presented.  Let's wait and see, but so far, so good! 

Until next time, happy watching!  =)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dramas I'm Currently Watching: January 2018 Edition - Rapid Fire Thoughts

Hey guys!  Before I even start, some of you have been very loyal readers (you know who you are, thank you!) and I wanted to update you on a recent venture of mine.  I will obviously continue working on this blog, because I’m a writer at heart, not a talker.  But I also have a YouTube channel where I upload two videos a week - one being a Beauty video and the other being a Desi entertainment video (Bollywood, Pakistani dramas, movie reviews, etc).  So please do subscribe!  I’m including the link below!

My YouTube Channel

Since I've been missing in action for a while, I figured I'd update you on what I'm watching at present - and since I don't have an abundance of time to write "essays" for each show, I figured I'd just summarize my thoughts very quickly on each show.  Let's get started!

Tou Dil Ka Kya Hua



To say this show is frustrating would be an understatement.  There are an abundance of "mean spirited" characters and it's like manipulation is around every corner.  Love is a game of musical chairs and the person can be substituted at the snap of a finger.  That being said, what really strikes me about this drama are the emotions depicted.  Many people that I know who have seen this drama complain about the "lack of realism."  And I completely disagree.  I think once you've seen a certain aspect of the world and human beings, you realize that this drama is depicting a reality - a warped reality, but this world exists.  A world where human emotions are fickle, people are selfish in their wants and desires and playing games is the norm.  If Bollywood is escapism, Pakistani dramas can be painfully realistic - and this is one such drama that is emotionally very realistic.  However, it does not have that exciting pull that other dramas have and the characters are pitifully lacking character and morals, even our "nice guys."  That's where this drama loses major points.

Khaani



It's very difficult for me to "ship" anything about this love story, because the character of Mir Hadi is so downright rotten.  And somehow, despite my internal fury towards this situation and what will ultimately become a romantic drama, I'm having a hard time resisting the pull of Feroze & Sana's chemistry.  It speaks volumes of Feroze's acting power where every time he plays a negative character (Khaani, Gul E Rana), you find yourself rooting for his character on a level.  I don't know what to expect from the outcome of this drama and I hope it's not neatly, sweetly wrapped up in a romance, because that goes against my idea that if we show female weakness on television, that's what young minds will further be trained to think.  And YET, I squeal and smile through all Feroze & Sana's scenes together, because this really IS a very interesting, gripping "romance."  Oh, what a tangled web we weave.  Haha.  This show has fast become my favorite show on television.

Mujhe Jeene Do



This story is chaos.  Lying, betrayal and abuse of a minor.  Despite the chaos though, at the bottom of it all, this is reality.  Saira's circumstances to step in as a child bride to care for her older sister's child and husband was heart-breaking, but what's now even more heart-breaking is that her circumstances haven't improved.  It's hard to see Shamu and Saira now grown up and, so obviously in love with each other - something they probably don't even realize - and yet, they can't do a thing about it, as Saira is already married.  It's hard to know how to feel about these characters, because they are all involved in something "bad" (child marriage), but as it's their version of normal, they are also victims of the practice.  Every single actor is doing an incredible job (well, maybe except Hania, who has a lot of weak moments regarding her acting skills) and this sort of ensemble cast is what dream-dramas are made of.  This show is great and, in my opinion, ridiculously underrated.  I don't hear it being spoken about enough!

Alif Allah Aur Insaan



What am I watching?  Why am I watching it?  Why has this influx of new characters taken over my screen when I don't care about them AT ALL?  Why is Zameen (Zareen?  What's her name?) marrying Arsalan over Sikandar?  Like....seriously?!  This is so ridiculous.  I just wait for scenes featuring Ushna, Mekaal, Shahzad and Kubra, because the rest of it has become so "faltu."  I'm hoping it'll pick up eventually, but it's taking a really scenic route....and I hope the destination doesn't require another 20 episodes.

Aisi Hai Tanhai



This drama both fascinates me and infuriates me.  It fascinates me because the topic is SO valid and very prevalent!  It infuriates me because the behavior and the "blame game" is not logical on any level.  Let's discuss for a moment.  The basic storyline is that Pakeeza (Sonya Hussain) and Hamza (Sami Khan) are college sweethearts and really care for each other.  A discussion happens after a classmate of theirs suffers a tragedy and Pakeeza makes Hamza feel that she doesn't completely trust him.  In an effort to PROVE to him that she DOES trust him, she sends him some pictures.  What is in those pictures is left to the imagination, but I think we can all figure that out.  Suddenly, Hamza & Pakeeza's rishta breaks off, Pakeeza's sister (played by Nadia Khan) gets divorced before her Rukhsati even happens and the whole world blames Pakeeza for being of poor character.  And....well, what happens after all of this is just really pushing my brain in a way that I can't digest.  I like this show, because it shows a true face of our society, but at the same time....Pakeeza's mother's actions are downright rotten and I don't even understand WHY any of these characters got themselves into the situation that they are in at present.  I don't know.  BUT, something I do want to say is this:  When Sonya Hussain first started acting a few years ago, she was my LEAST favorite actress of all time.  She has improved unbelievably, to the point that I really feel she's talented and wish she would act in more dramas. Also, this OST is a song I grew up listening to a lot as a kid, but Rahat infuses new life into it and I have found myself listening to his rendition a lot lately.

Darr Si Jaati Hai Sila



Oh my goodness, what do I say about this show?  Okay, short version.  So I really like the story and the cast is very talented, so acting isn't an issue at all.  That being said, the behavior of these characters really perplexes me and makes me think the entire household is insane.  With the exception of Zaini (this actress is really good, by the way) and her parents and Raheel (who is a little bit of a "lallu," but nice), the entire family is crazy.  But what's irritating is not only how Sila behaves, but also how her mother behaves and how they communicate with each other.  If her purpose is to protect her daughter, why isn't she honest with her?  Why don't they trust each other?  Why does Sila believe that a man so seedy would be the man her mother would choose to be in an illicit relationship with?  Why doesn't Sila TALK TO ANYONE?  She clearly has a tongue in her mouth, because it moves pretty rapidly with her mother!  WHY?  WHYYYYY?  Oh my goodness.  I just can't deal with this drama, it actually gives me anxiety.  Yumna Zaidi is doing a great job, I just wish there was more depth and better characterization for her character.  Noman Ejaz is incredible as always.  And again, special mention to the girl who plays Zaini, because she oozes confidence and talent.  I won't say I'm "looking forward" to how this progresses, but I am interested....


Daldal



In the initial episodes, this drama had me pulling out my hair with irritation and I was actually about to give up and discard it from my list.  Thank God I didn't, because at present, this is one of my favorite shows.  Daldal has shown the plight of an illegal immigrant and what his family left behind goes through with so much.....I think the correct word would be agony.  When people imagine the "immigrant dream," they don't take into account what immigrants actually go through when they come to a new country (and in this case, HOW they GET there) and have to start over.  No one realizes what their families go through when their loved ones are unable to come back due to immigration status.  It's a hard life and it's both refreshing and miserable watching the story of Shuja and Hira.  Special mention to Muneeb Bhatt as Kamran, because he's the best character on the show.

Meeras



I haven't been able to make it past episode 2 of this show yet, but the cast is incredible and I'm loving it so far.  I can't comment much on the story, because it hasn't taken off just yet as far as I've seen.  But the acting prowess of Savera Nadeem combined with Mohsin Abbas' excellent comedic timing is a winner (so far)!

Teri Raza




This show was my favorite when it began.  I loved the story, I loved the characters and I loved the overall feel of the show.  Then Suhana (Sanam Baloch) became pretty selfish, crazy and downright irritating.  This show feels like a marriage musical chairs at this point, because we know Suhana will not remain with Rameez for much longer.  Also, Suhana's relationship with her father is downright ridiculous.  They are BOTH so disrespectful to each other, it hurts my head to watch.  Something solid needs to happen in this show now in order for it to pick up, unfortunately.  Sarmad Khoosat as Imtiaz is the highlight of this show.  Any woman would love to have a husband like Imtiaz and Sarmad's ability to be in many different shows airing at once on TV and play such DIVERSELY different characters is a testament to his acting skill (Baaghi, Mujhe Jeene Do, Manto, Teri Raza).  I'm still watching, but this is beginning to drag.

Baaghi



What was once the best show on television has slowed in pace to a point where I'm left wondering what on earth is happening?  It's still interesting and the actors/characters/story make it very enjoyable to watch.  But at this point, nothing is happening.  I feel like this story deserves a tighter, more solid script - which, to be fair, it has had up until the  last 4 episodes. It has kind of slowed down since then.  But with the "kuch saal baad" leap, I'm hoping to see a pick-up in pace now.  Still loving it.

Manto



Honesty is the best policy.  This drama is something I waited for.....for a really long time.  But it is, unfortunately, too artsy for me.  I love art cinema, I love art movies, but this is "over my head" kind of art.  I feel like I'm in a constant state of being high (which I have never been, but I imagine this is what it's like) while watching this.  So, for that reason, I have dropped it from my list.  Maybe once it finishes airing, I can pick it up again (if I'm going through a bored moment).  But I do love Sarmad Khoosat, so it hurts my heart to drop this.

Rangreza



What is happening?!  First of all, this show makes me feel like all these characters are living in an alternate reality where they look like they live in 2017 (2018?), but they act like they live in the 1960s.  The characters in this show are either really badtameez or really lachaar.  There is little middle ground of "normalcy."  That's all I really want to say right now.  I love this show, but the current track is doing my head in with Tippu acting literally insane.

Khamoshi



This is one of those shows that I watch only because I can't stop myself.  It's like I want to quit on it, but it's so darn addictive that I can't.  This is not a "good" show.  This is a show where women are either really meek or they are so chalaak that they can destroy their family to get their own way.  In my world, if a man doesn't love you, you don't crush the woman he loves (your SISTER) in order to "get him."  In my world, an educated girl isn't essentially SOLD out to be a servant.  In my world, a man doesn't completely distrust a girl, fall in love with that girl's sister and then suddenly trust everything said (evil) girl says, falling into her manipulation.  In my world, when you think a woman has betrayed you and her family has treated her badly, you don't agree to marry her younger sister.  There are other women in the world!   In my world, an educated man doesn't fall for a servant just because he bumps into her and she looks mildly sweet.  As you can see, there is SO MUCH wrong with this show.  Everything is wrong with this show (except for the beautiful cast).  But somehow, you just HAVE to see a happy ending for Zara's character (Irsa?)....so I'm sticking to it.  Blah.

Alright guys!  That's it.  Those are the shows I'm watching at present.  Some are good, some not so much.  I promise to write again soon!  Thanks for reading, until next time, happy watching! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Khaani: What Am I Watching?

Hello all!  First of all, guys, I am so sorry for consistently falling off the wagon with writing.  Honestly, the only excuse I can give you is that life tends to get in the way, there are constant obstacles and sometimes writing simply has to take a backseat - not to mention that when the going gets tough, the tough have too much to deal with and it becomes difficult to keep up with watching television.  That being said, I'm back and will do my best to remain consistent.  Wedding season is in full swing and my schedule is very busy, but I will do what I can.  I have a few readers that always wish me well, always keep up with my blog and honestly - you guys are why I continue doing this, so THANK YOU for reading and being so understanding. 


Okay guys, "Yakeen Ka Safar" finished and while the ending didn't necessarily overwhelm viewers, for me personally.....I enjoyed it.  I agree with the complaints - I also wish we had seen Zubia & Asfandyar's wedding and been a part of that "moment."  I also wish we had been witness to Dr. Haroon and Geti's wedding, because that was a very touching, heart-warming connection and they both so deserved that happiness.  That being said, I did enjoy that beautiful moment between Zubia and Asfandyar in the hospital.  I did find that "Itna bhi trust nahin tha mujhpar?" line a little far-fetched, because.....well, obviously, they were so formal with each other, of course she didn't trust him!  But these two beautiful characters deserved nothing but the best and it was great to see that love story come to a happy end.  Since I hadn't written since the ending of Yakeen Ka Safar, I did want to drop in this small note!  Personally, I believe Yakeen Ka Safar was the highlight of 2017 drama-wise.  Well done, Hum TV, well done.

Okay.....let's come to the point of this post.  I want to discuss "Khaani."  I'm going to put a disclaimer straight-up that I am two episodes behind right now, so I've only seen the first 3 episodes of this drama.  If I say something that you feel "Oh, but you're not right about this....," just know that I'm not up-to-date.  I am simply commenting on the overall premise of the show.


Khaani came with high expectations from the viewers.  A beautiful OST rendered by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, a great production house, the promise of a beautiful, never-seen-before love story and the first-time pairing of Feroze & Sana all came together to leave drama viewers waiting in anticipation. 

Khaani follows the story of our title character, Khaani (Played by Sana Javed) and Mir Hadi (Feroze Khan).  Khaani and Saim are twins from a loving family including two more sisters and loving parents.  Mir Hadi is the son of a politician running for re-election.  Mir Hadi has a terrible attitude, is arrogant, self-obsessed and has an incredibly short temper.  One happy day after Saim finds out he has received a scholarship, his family happily awaits his arrival to begin the celebrations.  On his way home, Saim has an altercation with Mir Hadi, which results in his death. 


Now, because I'm behind on a few episodes, I'm not sure what has happened other than Mir Hadi's release.  But from what I gather, Mir Hadi will go on to be repentant of his crimes and will work to "fix" her life somehow. 

Guys, I don't consider myself a (I hate this word) "feminazi."  I'm a feminist in the normal way that I believe in equal rights, I believe in human rights.  I believe in equality.  I believe women are capable of doing anything.  So I don't get riled up over silly things.  But.....something about this show is rubbing me the wrong way. 



The premise is seemingly going two ways:  a "version" of Tum Bin where a crime is committed and that "criminal" will then come into the female lead's life to rectify things.  But here's the difference - in Tum Bin, the crime committed was purely an accident and the "criminal" was not a terrible person who thought he could get away with anything.  He simply made an error in judgement and rushed away in fear.  Here, dealing with a character like Mir Hadi, it seems like allowing a character like this to get "redemption" (IN ROMANCE!!!) is absolving him of his terrible behavior and his highly INTENTIONAL crime. 

OR Khaani will stand against Hadi Mir and they will somehow end up married with Khaani vowing to take revenge.....and then ultimately falling for Hadi.  Either way, I am miffed by either storyline.


Why are shows like this even made?  I wonder.  I know that the concept of the "egotistic hero made soft by the sweet heroine" is an idea that works brilliantly on Indian television - but is it really something to idolize and imitate?  Even with Gul-E-Rana a couple of years ago, I was torn by how much I really enjoyed the show, but at the same time, I was thrilled by the ending.  It didn't perpetuate the stereotype that a man can do anything and then get away with his bad behavior.  I am not sure where exactly this show will take this concept, but from what I'm seeing, it seems to be falling more under the category of "redemption" rather than "karma." 

I am finding the story interesting (if not painful to watch), so I'm going to continue watching, but I'm hoping I'm entirely wrong about the direction in which it's headed.  Let me know your thoughts!  Until next time, happy watching!  :)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Yakeen Ka Safar: Wading Through Life and Love


In the past few weeks, I've seen many articles come out about Yakeen Ka Safar, praising the show and drawing in new viewers.  Despite being a viewer from day 1, I refrained from writing about this particular show in detail.  This the excerpt from the last time I wrote about this show (back in June):

Intense.  Grim.  Painfully real.  Depicts the true reality of our society.  These are the first things that come to mind when describing this drama.  "Gumaan ke baad yakeen ka safar" - so far, there is so much gumaan and I'm still clinging on with my fingernails for some yakeen to begin. 

Sajal Ali's story as Zubia is interesting, but I'm waiting for it to really take off.  While I'm glad her once-evil father has had a change of heart, it goes to show that your children end up being a mirror of their parents.  To see her once-loving brother Rehan turn against her thanks to their upbringing (and her evil Bhabi) is disheartening and absolutely realistic.  I'm looking forward to watching her interactions with Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir).

On the other end, we've been seeing Daniyal (Shaz Khan) fighting to defend the honor of his client - however, he's taking on the son of a politician and that's put him in a dangerous position.  In the latest episode, we witnessed a huge twist with Daniyal being shot.  Will he make it?  Did he die?  That's what I'm waiting for anxiously.  Shaz Khan's chemistry with Hira Salman is seriously adorable, so I am hoping this isn't the end for the duo.  Things are looking grim though....

All in all, this is an intense drama and not for anyone looking for something light-hearted.  The story is solid though and I'm expecting for it to only get better from here (hopefully).


Since then, the show has leaped forward by heaps and bounds, changing directions entirely while still remaining tied to the plot.  When this show began, it was heavily action-packed, full of social messages, namely the fight of the oppressed vs. the oppressors.  The characters were idealistic, full of passion, energy and youth.  At present, the show is much more subdued, more emotional than action-packed, dealing with the long term effects of grief and loss.


When Yakeen Ka Safar first began, it felt like wading through shallow water in a river with uncertainty as to when the floor would drop.  From the get-go, Yakeen Ka Safar moved with a quiet calm towards a ragingly powerful yet subtle story.

What is Yakeen Ka Safar about?  The effect upbringing has on children, social injustice, the corrupt system in Pakistan, marital abuse, social stigma that women face, feminism, the importance of female education, mental health, the different ways people grieve and how they deal with that grief, forgiveness and, finally, love are all themes that Yakeen Ka Safar touches upon.  However, there is not a single moment of preaching in the show, rather these themes are presented so naturally and realistically.

However, at its very core, Yakeen Ka Safar is about the predictable:  it's a love story.  What makes this love story so unique?  I honestly could not see this love story emerging between these two characters until over half the show had gone by.  Yakeen Ka Safar kept me on my toes, yet moved with such an unpredictability, much like life - and that is what's refreshing.

For those who have not seen the show yet, first of all, I'll say what are you waiting for?  I've been recommending this show to anyone willing to listen, but with the disclaimer that it is not a fast-paced show that follows a predictable path.  That being said, it's beautiful and easily the best thing on television after "Baaghi" and "Mujhe Jeene Do."  It has been a long time since a drama has kept me waiting for each week to pass in order to watch a new episode.  Wednesdays have fast become my favorite day of the week thanks to YKS.


Getting to the story, let's do a quick recap.

The story tells the tale of two families - one being Zubia's family (Sajal Ali).  Zubia's family consists of an abusive father, a docile yet loving mother, a brother and her bhabi.  An abusive husband, Zubia's father accidentally kills Zubia's mother in a domestic dispute and then covers up the abuse by threatening his children.  While her father later repents and changes his focus in life towards Zubia's happiness, his previous behavior has already left its imprint on Zubia's brother Rehan, pushed further by his practically-evil wife.  During a low point of her life, Zubia makes a questionable decision that leads to her to disgrace, only to be rescued in a chance encounter by Asfandyar.

Asfandyar's family is a well to do, educated family headed by lawyer Usman.  His foreign educated son Daniyal (Shaz Khan) followed in his father's footsteps and is also a lawyer.  Daniyal is married to his cousin and childhood sweetheart Geti (Hira Salman), while Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir) - who is in med school and very fun loving - is engaged to another cousin, Faryal.  This tight-knit family is shown as a very happy, loving family - until Daniyal takes on a case with an NGO, fighting for a poor woman gang-raped by a politician's son.  Daniyal is directly framed for attempted rape by said politician, in an effort to ruin Daniyal's reputation, and the story reaches a heightened level at this point.  Lawyer Usman's family moves to a small town to escape the pain life has dealt them.

On the other end, Zubia has graduated from med school, but is unable to escape her past.  At every turn, she finds blame being thrown her way and people looking at her with suspicion, being labeled a "ghar se bhaagi hui ladki" (a woman who once ran away from home).  In an effort to escape this label, she takes up a job at a hospital in a small town - a hospital run by Dr. Asfandyar.

It is here where the story truly begins, healing begins and we see the light at the end of the tunnel.

At present, the story finally gave the viewers a sense of relief and closure regarding one storyline, only to throw us into grief once again in the most recent episode.  Once again, I am waiting with baited breath for the next episode, wondering what course this show is about to tread.  Will our main characters, Zubia and Asfandyar, find peace in each other?  Will Geti get the happy ending she so deserves?


Coming to performances, there isn't one performer here that outshines anyone else.  Everyone has done a commendable job.  That being said, Ahad Raza Mir is a gem.  While he had presence in "Sammi," here he shines brighter than any other star on television at present in the character of Asfandyar.  Asfandyar, as a character, has become the sort of heartthrob role that Fawad Khan's Asher had been in Humsafar.  A role that turns an actor into a star- Ahad Raza Mir is well onto his way of being a star.  His subtle performance as Asfandyar is endearing - whether it's the youthful, spirited Asfi or the serious, brooding Dr. Asfandyar, Ahad plays this role as a natural.

Sajal Ali as Zubia is perfect for the role.  Quiet and self-guarded, Zubia has learned to keep to herself and protect herself from those around her.  Sajal's acting only adds to the brilliant writing, displaying Zubia's pain with her eyes, namely as she guards herself from her own feelings towards Asfandyar.


Hina Salman as Geti is a complete natural.  Her anguish is displayed with a quiet calm, masked by a sad smile.  Shaz Khan shines in his role as Daniyal, a role so prominent to the story and his presence is felt throughout the show.

Sabiha Somar and Farhan Ali Agha excel as Asfandyar and Daniyal's parents, emoting so well that you can't remember them in any other role while they are on screen.  They ARE the parents of these two boys, broken-hearted and grieving.


The side characters are equally endearing, especially Mani as Dr. Haroon and the rest of the hospital staff.

While the show is inching towards a conclusion with only 2-3 episodes left, I am already beginning to feel a void "Yakeen Ka Safar is the sort of show that doesn't come around that often.  Each episode leaves behind an emotional impact and teaches you to really appreciate the relationships in your life - and to extend your hand to others, as everyone has a past, feels pain and needs support.

I'm eagerly waiting for the remaining episodes of YKS and hope you are too.  If you aren't already watching, you should be!  Happy watching!

(Pictures courtesy Hum TV)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Aadhi Gawahi - Social Statement or Illogical Fluff?


Aadhi Gawahi is a show that I made an active decision not to watch right when it began.  Why?  Well, in my past experience, shows featuring Sohai Ali Abro and Azfar Rehman tend to tether the line between reality and fantasy.  Mind you, both of these actors are really great, natural actors that always display their talent in each and every project they work in.  However, despite delivering great performances, the shows they choose to associate themselves with always seem overly melodramatic and fall under the title of "mediocre."

Why did I begin to watch this show then after 26 episodes had already gone on air?  Social media, of course!  I began seeing all these declarations of what a great social message the show had, what a strong female lead the show boasted of and how the issue touched upon in the show is such an important issue in Pakistani society.  "What IS this show about?" I thought, still sticking to my decision of not watching.  Then, last week, a friend openly began raving about the show and insisted that I must watch it.....so I did...

The summary of the show on the official Hum TV site is as follows:

"Aadhi Gawahi raises questions on the sensitive issue of "Nikah" and highlights how the subjects of "divorce" and "nikah" should not be taken lightly. Aadhi Gawahi is an interwoven story of Salwa, Saad, Hamdan, Soha and their families and depicts how an assumed "joke" amongst Salwa and Hamdan transformed Salwa and her family's lives into a bad dream. Salwa and her cousin Saad like each other, however when they are going to get married, their batch mate Hamdan approaches with pictures and video of his "Nikah" with Salwa which was recorded at a play as a joke when Hamdan declined to play her significant other in the play since she was not a “mehrum.” What takes after is an account of regret, battle and repercussions of Salwa's evil idea design." (Source:  www.hum.tv)



I'm not sure what is being described as a summary of this show is what I'm actually watching.  In fact, this summary sounds even more illogical than what actually happened on the show.  They certainly didn't get married as a "joke," rather it was an added scene in a play.

I absolutely agree that the general knowledge and education on the rights of women regarding Nikkah in South Asian society is highly lacking.  This is a situation made even worse by Pakistani media, depicting divorce as "talaaq, talaaq, talaaq" and, despite their intentions, showing situations like "accidental Nikkah" in this particular drama.

It has been shown that the "accidental Nikkah" between Hamdan & Salwa was orchestrated as an ill-intentioned plan by Hamdan himself (as he likes her), followed by a "fake" Fatwah issued by a hired Maulana Sahab.  If that's the case, then why did Salwa's Maulana Sahab also agree that this Nikkah was "jaayaz" (valid)?  In what world would anyone consider a Nikkah done without INTENTION valid?  This aside, what kind of sound-minded adults would partake in an act consisting of a Nikkah, using their real names, complete with signing of papers?  The basis of the show alone is illogical.



On the other end, we have Salwa's once love-of-her-life Saad.  Saad and Salwa are cousins and understand each other incredibly well, highly in tune with the feelings of the other.  When Saad injures his foot, he finds himself unable to act in their media arts class project opposite Salwa.  Hamdan uses this to his advantage and takes Saad's place - and this is when the "fake Nikkah" takes place.  Salwa informs Saad of the situation and they even have a fight over it.  Why then would Saad go on to distrust Salwa over the nikkah situation when the entire incident was put in front of him immediately?  How do characters that had a solid understanding suddenly morph into completely different people?  It's frustrating to watch.  



It's amusing to watch the difference between Salwa and Hamdan's families.  While Salwa's family is supposed to be an "izzatdaar khandaan" (respectable family), educated and broad-minded, their actions tell a completely different story.  They are quick to judge, make impulse decisions, are rude to their guests and conduct themselves without class.  On the other end, Hamdan's family is comprised of landlords and are described as "jaahil" (uneducated and ignorant).....however, their behavior is much more dignified, compromising and intelligent.  It's almost difficult to sympathize with Salwa and her family's situation, because of the haphazard way they conduct their lives.



The ensemble cast does a decent job with their roles, but there are two actors specifically worth mention.  Ayesha Sana and Saleem Sheikh play their roles with the utmost dignity and exude charm each time they appear on screen.  Despite being from the "bad family" on the show, they are two of the more likable characters.  I also have to give credit to Usama Khan who plays the role of Usama.  He is written as a side character, but he is highly memorable and leaves an impression on the viewer.  Ironically, he leaves a stronger impression than our lead "hero" Saad (played by Ali Josh).  Ali is a decent enough actor, but his character is so poorly written that it's difficult to really find him endearing.

Coming to our two main actors - Sohai Ali Abro is always a treat to watch on screen.  She has a natural flair about her, as though she's just a normal girl and isn't acting at all.  This show is so intriguing partly because of her performance - had it been any other actress, this show may not have had the same pull.  Sohai looks beautiful and her character has personality, so the idea of two men being in love with her isn't at all unbelievable.  



Azfar Rehman's role is much more difficult for the viewer to wrap their head around.  Here's why:  Azfar Rehman is supposed to be our "villain."  He's rude, he's blunt, he's insensitive, he's a male chauvinist.  He forces the heroine to marry him under false pretenses, tries to control her life, physically threatens her family members, is rude to her mother......he should not be appealing to ANYONE.  The problem?  He's played by Azfar Rehman, who is a bigger actor than any of the other males in the show.  He's great looking.  Add to that, how Bollywood and Pakistani shows have played on our hearts and brains for decades - the "bad boy" chases the girl and the girl eventually gives in.  The "bad boy" will eventually reform and become a good guy.....no matter how he has gone about getting his way and forcing himself on the girl, depriving her of her own basic rights.  Unfortunately, I see that at play with this show as well in the viewers, myself included.  I find myself thinking "They look so sweet together" or finding Hamdan's behavior appealing in a strange way.   

It's pitiful and I do wonder how the show intends to wrap up.  Will Hamdan change his ways and we, once again, be forced to lap up this idea of "Aggressive force is OK, because she will change him for the better" or will Hamdan actually be held accountable for his bad behavior?  



I will be honest.  Despite this show's lack of logic, despite the insane characters and the ludicrous situations, there is still something almost addictive about this show.  I find myself looking forward to every episode, despite it moving at a snail's pace and being almost Indian soap-like in its presentation.  The chemistry between Sohai & Azfar definitely helps things.  All things considered, I do agree that the subject of how Nikkahs are meant to be conducted is something our society needs to be made aware of and educated on.  I hope this show holds true to its claims and actually goes on to address the problematic things being depicted so far.

That's it for this week!  Happy watching!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mujhe Jeene Do - Episodes 1, 2 and 3


Some names are simply synonymous with quality and when you see those names associated with a production, you are immediately enticed to view that show.  A few of those names are Salman Shahid, Nadia Jamil, Sarmad Khoosat, Mehreen Raheel and, recently even Hania Amir and Gohar Rasheed (I'll forgive him for Mann Mayal).  And when all these names combine to star in one drama, expectations are high.  Add Angeline Malik to the mix as director and I'll simply say the quality of that production is guaranteed to be something special.

Three episodes in, I will say that the show does not disappoint.  Each and every one of these actors (minus Hania, who has yet to appear - for obvious reasons) has a strong role to play and are given ample screen time.



The show follows the story of Saira (played by Emaan Sher, later to be Hania) from the age of eight to eighteen and how her life evolves in those years due to the decisions of others.  Child marriage is the basic story, interwoven with characters dealing with lack of education, poverty, marriage difficulties and health.
             

I can't pin-point one character/actor that I'm impressed with right now.  Sarmad Khoosat is such a great artist that I tend to watch anything he acts and/or directs.  Furthermore, his chemistry with Mehreen Raheel is great, making the husband-wife relationship feel real (which, of course, adds to the anger of the viewer towards their problems).



Gohar Rasheed's acting as a young widower is heartbreaking, while Salman Shahid's act as the patriarch of the family is strong and intimidating.  Nadia Jamil is such an actress that when she takes on a role (which is RARE), you realize how much you've missed her and what a natural she is.  Her role is of adviser and overseer to the majority of the characters in the show (as their doctor), playing the voice of reason.  Little Emaan Sher is no great actress, but is sweet enough as Saira and does as well as one can expect.



Overall, the show is off to an amazing start, depicting extreme, but very realistic situations.  With Baaghi and now Mujhe Jeene Do, quality-wise, Urdu 1 is leading miles ahead of all of the other drama channels.  Excited to see how the show progresses!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yeh Raha Dil Comes to An End, Daldal Begins and Teri Raza Makes Me Want to Give Suhana a Good Shake!

Shows ends, shows begin and some shows have characters that really get under your skin.  This week, we have all three!


Yeh Raha Dil came to an end this week, bringing a really sweet drama with really beautiful characters to an end.  In any other scenario, I would've hated the show, simply because of how they treated Hassan.  However, the character of Hassan was written in such a sweet way that even his reaction of "London jaa ke gori nahin mili, to?!" was incredibly endearing and you just wished him well.  On the other end, we finally see Nida find her conscience and become a good person.  We see Hayaa and Zaki finally unite and everything ends happily ever after.  Except.....despite having a smile on my face at the end, I wanted to see MORE.  In a show where parents were such an integral part of the storyline, I wanted to see their reactions to a Zaki-Hayaa union.  I wanted to see Hayaa & Nida's parents struggle with the idea that one daughter's fiance is now marrying their other daughter.  I wanted to see the wedding (at least a glimpse).  Regardless, despite my emotional ups and downs with this show and my disdain at how certain characters behaved, I will say that this show was a step above the rest and was different from most shows out there.  They attempted to deliver something "fresh" and I appreciate that.  If you haven't seen this show, I'd recommend it if you have a couple of lazy days and want to watch something fairly frustration-free, a little silly and not too heavy.


Dandal

As far as frustration-free goes, "Dandal" does not fall into that category.  After two episodes, we have seen two episodes full of trouble-making sisters-in-law, rich-poor love stories, saas-bahu drama in the works, greedy "love," and every other type of twist that would make you want to bang your head against a wall.

That being said, the cast is good-looking, talented and consists of a great ensemble of both young and old actors.  While the story looks predictable as of right now, we are only two episodes in and I imagine there's a lot more to come.  I DO wish Zahid's character made a little more sense and didn't flip-flop as much as he's been doing.  One moment, he's furious with his brother for skipping school and the next, he's encouraging him to skip school, because "maine kya haasil kiya hai parhai kar ke?".  I expect a little more consistency.  Armeena is pretty "whatever" as of right now, but I guess her acting skills will have to come into play a little later on.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this show plays out.


Teri Raza

I am so frustrated by Suhana's behavior, to put it simply.  Unfortunately here, the writing is a little sloppy.  Rameez is shown as a flirt, someone who didn't even bother to tell his parents about Suhana.  Yet in the present, we see him so angry, so heartbroken - why?  Initially, I thought it was just a matter of ego, being rejected, but now it seems like we're actually supposed to believe that he loved her?  Suhana called Rameez's parents and spoke to her father, who told her that he never bothered talking to them about her, that he's a flirt, that he has many girlfriends and that he's "nalaik."  His own father told her that about him.  He fell out of touch with her for so long and never bothered to see what happened until she was already engaged.  He always hung around girls, flirting, smoking, etc.  The istikhara for Imtiaz came out positive, so Suhana agreed to marry Imtiaz.  Suddenly, all Suhana remembers is that the istikhara was positive, so she agreed to marry Imtiaz.  Why doesn't she remember everything else?  That's one complaint that I have.

Acting wise, the show is so good.  I can understand human emotions, but this show is actually frustrating to watch, because Suhana has the greatest husband in front of her and she's choosing to ruin her marriage over someone who doesn't even care.  It's such a REALISTIC depiction of human emotions (and human stupidity), which is why it's actually great, but at the same time, it's so frustrating to watch a character ruin their life.

Alright, that's it for now!  Until next time, happy watching!